Ireland has a highquality public broadcaster, RTE, funded in large part by the TV license fee of €160. An yes, RTE is high quality. Anyone who has looked at TV in other parts of the world know that to be the case.
The TV license is being dropped in favour of a broadcast device charge, which will it seems be simply another household tax, being levied on the same population as the Local Property Tax. And it will be €180 from 2014.
If RTE are to get the lions share of this, then they should be like the BBC – stop taking paid adverts. If they want to take ads, then we need to reconsider the situation. Does public broadcasting have to be the exclusive purview of the public broadcaster? Or should this €220m fund be made available to any and all who wish to bid for it, to create and deliver TV shows (be they news, current affairs or otherwise) that would be uneconomical? The tax is a form of intervention to correct a market failure – that socially good and useful programs may not be made by commercial stations if they are uneconomical. But the organizational form of how these programs are delivered is arguably a much lower order issue of concern.
So : either we have a fully commercial system in which RTE would live within its advertising means OR a committment to public sector (public good) broadcasting, in which case intra sectoral justice suggests that it should be open to all.